Depot News – week ending 21-Mar-21

Depot News – week ending 21-Mar-21

Our Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 continued to claim the ‘most watched’ top spot after having worked the WSR ballast train on multiple occasions over the last two weeks. The ballast has been hauled from Williton to various sites along the line in the direction of Watchet. On Monday 22nd March, there will be more ballast trains working between Williton and Doniford in support of the track relaying work that is close to completion there.

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6566 (33 048) stands at the head of the WSR ballast train at Williton on 13th March 2021. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0

However, they won’t be hauled by D6566 because she has failed a lubricating oil test and now has to stand down from WSR duty pending an investigation to find the reason for the drop in the viscosity of her engine oil. This is most probably due to a fuel leak in one of her high-pressure fuel injection pumps, resulting in diesel fuel reaching the lubricating oil sump, mixing with the oil and causing a reduction in viscosity. Her place will be taken by sister D6575 (33 057) who will be in action on Monday and D6575 will move D6566 to the DEPG depot for further attention.

Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) basking in the sunshine alongside Platform 2 at Williton Station on 13th March 2021. Photo by Tom Courtney © CC BY-NC 3.0

DEPG volunteer Class 33 loco manager Ian Robins and DEPG volunteer Tom Courtney have been attending to D6566 at Williton and have eliminated the possibility of a fuel leak from the pipework that carries the high pressure diesel fuel from the injection pump to the injector. All eight rocker covers were removed and the engine was started up last Saturday, and allowed to run for a while so that any fuel leaks could be identified. This test showed no signs of leakage so additional investigations will take place during this coming week. Here’s a short video clip taken by Tom Courtney that shows the Sulzer 8LDA28 engine of D6566 running without its rocker covers in place:


Consider signing up to our DIESELGEN service where we (try to) let you know by advance email whenever one of our locos is called into action. In previous years, this service was used to post the dates and times of loco-hauled passenger services, but since Lockdown 1.0, we have expanded it to include ANY working. The difficulty with engineering workings is that they run under the direction of the Infrastructure Engineering group, so dates and times will be varied to suit the circumstances on the day. The webcams provide the answer – we include webcam links in the Dieselgen bulletins where possible, so you can watch the live action !

To view the Williton webcam, click on this link. Many thanks to Railcam UK and the WSR for providing these webcam services.

Although it is great to see these locos and their crews at work on the WSR, we must all remember that the railway and the stations are still closed to the public. Safety is the number one priority.


Last week, we featured the ex-BR ‘DOGFISH’ wagons that are being used for these ballast workings, and we can now provide more background to these wagons because DEPG member and regular contributor Jon Tooke has sent us the following information and photos:

Jon Tooke writes:

“Just to fill in the back story of the Catfish and Dogfish wagons that may be of interest to readers. As you correctly stated in the recent piece about wagons, it was the GWR who invented using all manner of coded names for wagons to avoid confusion such as Conflat, Mica, Mogo and Tadpole to name a few but the terms Catfish and Dogfish were later additions, possibly when BR came into being.  Many more can be found here Code Names for Great Western Carriage Stock and Vans or here Great Western Railway telegraphic codes – Wikipedia.

Way back in September 2004, a DEPG team led by Graham consisting of Darren, Roy and myself undertook the repainting on a contract basis of the WSR’s fleet of Cats and Dogs and we must have done a good job because the wagons still look good today, considering all the work they are involved with on the railway, and I notice the paintwork is weathering nicely after all this time!

When the wagons arrived at Williton, they were in all sorts of varying shades of colours, with the paintwork in even more varying states of peeling and paint loss. First, we set about steam cleaning them all over thoroughly to remove years of dirt and detritus from all the nooks and crannies, then the old paintwork was either needle gunned or angle-ground back to a decent surface to apply a base undercoat.

The top coat of black on the frames and below the solebar was sprayed on by Graham, likewise the hopper front, back and sides but in olive green colour. The important bits of hand painting were done by myself, Roy and Darren on the chequer-plated platform on one end of the vehicle, the brake reservoirs, buffer-beams and so on, all in gloss black. The door operating hand wheels were painted white as were the hand brake wheels. To ensure that the doors on the hoppers were in the correct positions for loading and discharging, I made up a stencil from thick card with the words DOOR, OPEN, CLOSED and an arrow pointing in the appropriate direction. These were stippled with white paint to give a clear indication of operation. Likewise, another stencil was made and used for the wording on the solebars to state the wheelbase and weight, again picked out in white as was the old cast BR wagon works plate alongside.

The guard rails and foot step supports were also picked out in white, and in true BR workshop fashion, the hoppers had overhead hazard warning flashes added to them, the wheel sets were given white tyres with yellow axle bearing covers with roller bearing red bands through the middle and my goodness, they looked just like something out of the Hornby box when we had finished them!

The wagon information details were sourced and applied to the hopper sides by Colin and Graham.

As this was a rather unusual task for the DEPG to undertake, and so that everyone who saw these vehicles knew who had done such an excellent job on them, on the bufferbeams on each vehicle I painted the date and that it was A WILLITON WRD REPAINT !”

An unrestored ex-BR ‘CATFISH’ wagon receives attention at the DEPG Williton Diesel Depot, unofficially and temporarily renamed as the “WILLITON WAGON REPAIR DEPOT” (WRD) for the purpose, on 31st July 2004. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
One of several restored ex-BR ‘CATFISH’ 19t hopper wagon fleet stands proudly outside of the DEPG Diesel Depot at Williton on the 25th September 2004. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0
The detail that was added to the bufferbeam of each of the restored vehicles …. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0


Eleven years later on 25th January 2015, one of the previously restored and hard-working ‘DOGFISH’ 24t hopper wagon fleet waits at the platform at Bishops Lydeard behind Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057). Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0


Several loaded ex-BR ‘DOGFISH’ 24t hopper wagon viewed from the trailing cab of Class 33 ‘Crompton’ D6575 (33 057) at Bishops Lydeard in 2015. The three discharge control handwheels can be clearly seen in this view. Photo by Jon Tooke © CC BY-NC 3.0

Many thanks to Jon for sharing this information with us all.


LOCO NEWS: Other than that reported above, the status of our locos remains unchanged this week, due to lockdown.

DEPG NEWS: Last week, we learned that ex-BR, ex-WSR driver and former DEPG member Lennie Renwick had passed away. Lennie was one of life’s real characters, having started work on BR in the late days of steam and subsequently amassing a huge wealth of mainline driving experience that he was keen to pass on to our own volunteer crew members. Our website carries a very appropriate obituary, penned by our chairman, Martin Howard. Lennie will certainly be missed.


DEPG WEBSITE: Our ONLINE SHOP IS NOW LIVE so go ahead and visit our store!

This week, we have already mentioned the wheel lathe at Bristol St. Philips Marsh depot, so it is quite topical that we have just received a donation of some GENUINE ex-BR vinyl stickers featuring that very depot – see below:

We are going to be placing these on sale via our website but we only have a small quantity, so it will be first come, first served!

WSR NEWS: The WSR are delighted to announce that ‘excursion style‘ public services will resume on Saturday 22nd May 2021, subject to the reduction of Government restrictions in force at that time. The commercial success of these services will depend on public patronage, so please visit the WSR website and consider buying a ticket to ride.

To support this milestone date, the WSR have announced that training and competence assessment of traincrews is restarting on Saturday 17th April and runs for 5 consecutive weekends prior to reopening on 22nd May. 


The WSR will be running another of their Zoom sessions for volunteers on Wednesday 31st March at 1800 and we encourage all of our volunteers to join these sessions. The next session will be hosted by Steve Williams and will cover Business Development on the WSR.


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